Introduction The EpiNano program was launched for an epidemiologic follow-up of workers handling carbon nanotubes (CNT), TiO2 and SiO2 nano-objects and their aggregates and agglomerates (NOAA) at their workplaces.
Method Workers are identified using a 3-level approach: 1-identification and enrollment of companies dealing with the concerned NOAA (based on compulsory declaration of nanomaterials used and produced in France and ‘Company questionnaire’), 2-onsite visit and observation of the workstations/tasks concerned with NOAA exposure (based on standardised tool ‘Onsite technical logbook’), and 3-identification of workers involved in these workstations/tasks. Workers identified are invited to participate in the program, with data of interest collected through ‘Inclusion questionnaire’.
Results The program started in January 2014. During the first 18-month operation period, 22 companies accepted to participate and were visited. Among 149 workstations dealing with NOAA and observed onsite, almost a half was classified as concerned with NOAA exposure. In public research laboratories, workstations were more often classified as concerned with NOAA exposure and were less equipped with personal and collective protection devices than in private companies visited. In total, 156 workers have been identified as potentially exposed, and 94% of them were included into EpiNano perspective cohort. This cohort is subject to a passive epidemiological surveillance, based on the national health insurance database and national causes of death registry data. Moreover, forty percent of this cohort is subject to an active surveillance based on the regular (yearly) exposure and health follow-up questionnaires.
Discussion Data of EpiNano cohort will be matched with data from the national health insurance database and national causes of death registry for studying incidence and mortality with respect to the NOAA exposure by the end of 2017. Meanwhile, an effort is being made to encourage companies’ participation and increase the number of workers involved in the program.
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